Now I’m a Belieber…

By Managing Editor

One year ago today, Justin Bieber was nowhere to be heard from—and if the mention of his name did manage to slip its way into conversation, it was usually met with frustrated groans of people fed up with his bad boy antics and overexposure.

Following months of troubled times for Bieber-—including accusations of battery, alleged marijuana use and DUIs all leading up to his eventful arrest in January 2014 after being caught drag racing—the former teen heartthrob became the target of everyone’s disdain and harassment.

Media heavily criticized Bieber for every one of his public actions—he was accused of animal cruelty after adopting a pet monkey in Germany, humiliated for infamous comments he made while visiting the Anne Frank House and much more. There was no escape. Even at shows, the star was frequently assaulted on stage, having been tackled by crazed concertgoers and pelted by bottles. It seemed unlikely that he’d be able to successfully regain his public support.

Now, Bieber has the No. 1 song in the country with his new single, “What Do You Mean?” and another hit, “Where Are Ü Now,” in the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. He recently received a standing ovation after performing at the Video Music Awards, and his upcoming release has been named one of the most anticipated albums of 2015. His career has taken a complete 180 from where it was just a year ago.

However, Bieber’s road to the top has not been effortless, but full of calculated publicity moves, personal development and overall creative growth.

After the unfortunate events of 2013, Bieber spent most of the following year out of the spotlight, allowing him to finally take a break from the public eye and surely do some self-reflecting, while giving the general public a sort of “Bieber detox” to get over all of his personal drama.

It wasn’t until January 2015 when Bieber finally reemerged, embarking on an apology tour of sorts. Through a series of videos posted online and a surprise appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Bieber apologized to the world for his “arrogant” and “conceited” behavior. This was the start of the reintroduction of Justin Bieber.

The public image cleanse continued in March when Bieber took to Comedy Central to participate in “The Roast of Justin Bieber.” The singer’s friends, peers and other high-profile celebrities took turns exchanging personal jabs with Bieber, criticizing him for his immature behavior. Bieber handled everything with grace, though, maintaining high spirits and a happy smile as he owned up to his mistakes. It showed he was finally ready to move on.

Most important to Bieber’s long trek back to the top, however, was his music. Everything Bieber has put out this year has been top-notch. His feature on Skrillex and Diplo’s “Where Are Ü Now” shows a new side to him, thematically and sonically. His newest single, “What Do You Mean?” reminds the world of his softer side while demonstrating a newfound maturity to his music. It’s hard to fight the singer’s comeback when his music is irresistible.

Bieber has finally graduated from his NSYNC era and entered his Justin Timberlake one and, much to my surprise, I just might be a fan.